Detroit public school officials are trying to head off the violence that has plagued the district’s 84,000 to 88,000 students, the Detroit News reports. After spate of high-profile shootings in or near schools that have left one student dead and at least nine people injured since January, the school district launched a massive overhaul of safety protocols in an effort to curb violence and make schools more secure. The measures range from fixing broken security cameras to staggering patrol shifts to embracing volunteer patrol groups.
Michael Witkowski, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Detroit Mercy, said school police chief Roderick Grimes’ changes are good ones, but Grimes will need more than the budgeted $23.4 million to do the job. “The school board has to make a choice,” he said. “It is tough. Many times it is between getting new textbooks and the things kids need to learn and safety. It is a herculean task.” With the district facing a $259 million deficit, Grimes knows he is not likely to get more money. Detroit Police and school district officials vowed an increased presence through more efficient deployment after the shooting of seven teens in June as they stood at a bus stop.